Tuesday, May 11, 2021

South African jazz ‘giant’ Jonas Gwangwa dies at 83 | News from South Africa

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President Cyril Ramaphosa pays tribute to the legendary musician who was nominated for an Oscar.

Jonas Gwangwa, South African musician and anti-apartheid icon, has died at the age of 83.

President Cyril Ramaphosa paid tributes on Saturday to the legendary trombonist and composer who was nominated for an Oscar for the theme song for the 1987 film Cry Freedom.

“A giant of our revolutionary cultural movement and democratic creative industries has been called to rest,” Ramaphosa said.

“The trombone that exploded with boldness and bravery, and which also warmed our hearts with a sweet melody, lost its life force,” he added.

There were no immediate details of how or where Gwangwa died.

He died on the third anniversary of the death of “South African jazz father” Hugh Masekela and the second anniversary of the death of Zimbabwean music legend Oliver Mtukudzi.

January 23 became “the day music died,” South African media and other outlets have said.

Gwangwa was born in October 1937 in Soweto and had a 40-year career.

“He delighted the Sophiatown audience until it became illegal for blacks to assemble and South African musicians were jailed simply for practicing their profession,” the presidency statement read.

He was awarded the Order of Ikhamanga, South Africa’s highest national honor for his achievements in the fields of art and culture, in 2010.

The award recognizes his work as composer, arranger and musical director of the Amandla Cultural Ensemble, a cultural group formed by activists from the African National Congress in the 1970s.

As news of Gwangwa’s passing broke, many took to social media to pay tribute to the iconic musician.



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